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Registration rules vary among different child pornography offenses

There are multiple types of child pornography charges here in Maryland. Two main ones are possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.

Whether a person who has been accused of child pornography crimes is facing distribution charges rather than possession charges can matter considerably.

For one, these two offenses have different elements, so what a prosecutor would have to prove to get a conviction is different between distribution and possession charges.

Also, there are penalty differences between these two types of offenses. An example of such a difference can be seen by looking at sex offender registration rules in Maryland.

Both child pornography possession charges and child pornography distribution charges trigger a sex offender registration requirement in the event of a conviction. However, the length of this requirement differs between the offenses.

If a person is convicted of a first offense of child pornography distribution, they generally will be required to be registered as a sex offender for 25 years, as this offense falls under Tier II registration.

Meanwhile, if a person is convicted of a first offense of child pornography possession, their sex offender registration requirement will generally only last 15 years, as this offense falls under Tier I registration.

Being on a sex offender registry generally carries a major stigma with it, so being on the registry can have a very high social cost for a person. Thus, the length of a sex offender registration requirement can be an incredibly impactful thing, as it can affect how long a person will be subjected to this high cost.

Consequently, what specific charges a person accused of child pornography crimes is facing can have major impacts on their case, the potential consequences they could be subjected to and their overall legal position.

When it comes to mounting a defense against child pornography charges, it can be incredibly important for a person's defense to be carefully tailored to their individual legal situation. Sex crime defense attorneys can assist with such tailoring. 

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